Jeaninne is an award-winning fiction and essay writer who is the author of "Manuel's Murals."
Hello Beatles, Good-bye Barbie
The album “Meet The Beatles” changed me from being a dutiful little girl into an exuberant pre-teen. I begged my mother for that ground-breaking record for my birthday, instead of my usual Barbie doll fashion accessories. I played that album until the grooves wore out. My father had remarried by then. And, as I described in Part 6 of this series, my father and his wife pretty much left my stepsister, Teri, and me free to live out our Beatle fantasy lives in her pink and white bedroom while they drank cocktails and smoked cigarettes in front of the family room television.
I was nine and Teri was six when we became Beatle wives. I loved John Lennon and Teri loved Paul McCartney. We put their magazine headshots on our pillows next to the white landscaping rocks we used for wedding rings. I was envious of all the Beatle merchandise Teri’s mother bought her, but I loved that little girl so much, it made me happy to think that she was getting the best of my father’s care. However, Teri was envious that Paul McCartney and I share the same birthday. By the way, Happy Belated June 18th Birthday, Sir Paul.
I was so crazy about The Beatles, I saved every bit of my lunch money and allowance to buy Beatle magazines, cheap trinkets, and the latest album. Even my mother loved the songs. When I helped her clean house on Saturday mornings, we would crank up the console stereo and sing “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There” in unison. Now, when we’re in the car and hear a Beatles tune, we still crank it up and sing loud and proud.
“A Hard Day’s Night” had come to the La Habra Theater in 1964. I put on my blue canvas Beatles tennis shoes sporting John, Paul, George and Ringo faces, and shoved my red plastic Beatles wallet into my blue jeans. I walked up to the box office, one mile from my house, for the film’s Saturday matinee debut. (Children walked alone to and from school in those days, the same distance from my house to the theater.) I arrived at the theater at 9a.m. The movie didn’t start until noon. So, I sat against the black tiled box office kiosk and patiently waited for my friend, Lisa, ecstatic to be the first in line. I wasn’t alone for long because other children quickly filled in behind me. Our excitement was infectious; and soon, we were swapping Beatle tales like veteran reporters.
I remember crying and screaming and swooning over the larger-than-life, black and white images of the Fab Four running from crazed fans all over London. It felt so liberating to pretend to be grown-up and in love among my Saturday matinee peers. I couldn’t wait to get back to school on Monday and tell my friends all about the movie!
After I saw The Beatles in concert at Dodger’s Stadium in 1966, it seemed that my teeny-bopper perspective on adulthood became much more complicated. With both parents remarried and six new sisters, I wasn’t prepared for a sudden set of conflicting emotions that had nothing to do with Beatlemania. However, that’s a story for my next chapter.